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For awhile I switched from tarot
to playing cards.
Just regular old cards.
No pictures.
No Colman-Smith.
No abstract art.
No rainbow colors.
Just numbers and suit,
black and red,
light and dark,
energy and associations.

And the associations are easy
with ordinary cards.
Spades are winter,
spades are dark.
The Queen, the twelfth card
of her suit,
a winter twelve,
a lonely queen.
This is how you time a reading.
And I timed every reading out
to December,
to myself,
to that sharp and solitary queen.

Today is a turning point in time.
It is cold and the wind is strong.
And wind is winter.
Winter is air.
Air is spirit
and, if you're lucky, inspiration,
ideas, intellect and looking inward.
And I have been luckier in this regard
than in others.

Today, I stand outside
and it's a new month and a new year.
The yard is a monochrome of snow
and dormant garden.
There are crows calling to me from the trees -
loud and free and wild.
And the sky beyond the branches
isn't gray or silver
but really surprisingly blue.
Blue enough to get my attention.
Blue enough to anchor me
to this scene, this spot, this lonely season.

So I stand outside until my feet are cold
and I think that this is probably
what timing a reading really means.
Not where you've been,
not where you're going
but the absolute magnitude
of where you are.

Today I know exactly
where that is.

Today is Sunday,
early January.
Today is number one of seven.
Today is number one of twelve.
And one is creation and renewal.
One is power under pressure.
One is starting over,
moving forward.
One is January.
And January is an ace.

*For more on winter and tarot please see A Light in Winter: The Queen of Swords

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